I&R/A News

iPadSee below for I&R/A news and updates. 

ADvancing States’ National I&R Support Center Releases Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Profiles

The National I&R Support Center held a contest in the spring of 2022 to identify and disseminate promising practices that can help strengthen current and future disaster readiness and response within the Information & Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) field. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of disaster and emergency situations, I&R/A programs have played a vital role in connecting individuals, caregivers, and families to needed services and resources. The Support Center is pleased to release promising practice profiles of Atlantis Community, Inc. and the Aging and Disability Resource Center – Hawai’i Island, the first and second place contest awardees. Atlantis’ I&R/A program has been an anchor point for responding to the needs of community members during the pandemic, engaging with new and existing community partners, and fostering development of new programs in areas such as technology access, vaccine information, and emergency transition services. The ADRC – Hawai’i Island, in responding to the pandemic, developed and implemented a Person-Centered Emergency Planning Program that includes training, an individualized Emergency Planning Workbook and support in completing this workbook, and items to start personalized emergency kits. See the promising practice profiles to learn more about these innovative approaches to disaster preparedness and response.

Click here for the profile Atlantis Community Inc. Strengthens Disaster Response through Intentional Partnerships

Click here for the profile Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) – Hawai’i Island Fosters Disaster Preparedness through Person-Centered Emergency Planning

Issue Brief Examines Key I&R/A Technology Developments

The National Information & Referral Support Center is pleased to share the release of the issue brief A New Standard of Innovation: Findings from the I&R/A Technology Survey. This issue brief summarizes and shares quantitative and qualitative findings from the Aging and Disability Information and Referral/Assistance Technology Short Survey to inform understanding of key technology developments and highlight approaches that may be useful in the current situation or in future disaster situations. This survey, administered by ADvancing States’ I&R Support Center in 2021, gathered data in several key areas including service modality and call volume; social media; the resource database; Information Technology systems; remote work; and new technologies for staff and client engagement.

Older Americans Act 101 Training Course Now Available on ADvancing States IQ

A new training course is available on ADvancing States IQ for aging and disability professionals - Older Americans Act 101: The Foundation of the Aging Services Network. This training course provides participants with an overview of key issues relevant to the Older Americans Act (OAA), a seminal piece of legislation that underpins the Aging Services Network and authorizes critical programs that support older adults. This course discusses the historical development, functions, and governance of the Act, its service programs, populations served, and funding. Older Americans Act 101 is aimed toward new, as well as seasoned, professional staff in the field of aging who would like a better understanding of the OAA. This new course is designed to help participants: Improve knowledge of key features, terminology, and concepts underlying the OAA; Expand understanding of OAA services and programs; Understand the administration and funding mechanisms of the OAA; and Increase ability to converse about basic OAA topics.

This course is free and available to all users on ADvancing States IQ. To access the course, log in to ADvancing States IQ and search for the course Older Americans Act 101: The Foundation of the Aging Services Network (available under the course category Community Integration).

Training Course Available on State and Local Practices in Benefits Outreach and Enrollment

A new training course is available on ADvancing States IQ on the role of state and local practices in benefits outreach and enrollment for older adults and individuals with disabilities. This course provides the opportunity for participants to learn about core benefit programs and challenges to accessing benefits. This course also describes sources of information trusted by older adults and persons with disabilities and identifies effective outreach strategies using those information channels. Additionally, participants will learn about state and local practices for ensuring individuals are connected to potential benefits, as well as opportunities to adjust benefits outreach and enrollment during crises and emergencies. Given the critical role of I&R/A programs in connecting individuals to benefits programs, this course may benefit any I&R/A professional.

This course is free and available to all users on ADvancing States IQ. To access the course, log in to ADvancing States IQ and search for the course Benefits Outreach and Enrollment for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities: The Role of State and Local Organizations.

Behavioral Health Crisis Management for Older Adults Webinar Series Available on ADvancing States IQ

In January of this year, the National I&R Support Center hosted a three-part webinar training series on Behavioral Health Crisis Management for Older Adults presented by Karen L. Fortuna, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College and Alyssa Gocinski, BA, MSW Candidate, Boston, College.
The webinar series addresses older adult crisis management, older adults and technology, and older adult mental health. The full webinar series is now available on the ADvancing States IQ online learning center. Aging, disabilities, and mental health network professionals are invited to watch the recordings of this webinar training series on behavioral health crisis management for older adults to strengthen knowledge and skills to meet the current and future needs of older adults with, or at risk of developing, mental illness. This training series emphasizes digital service delivery where digital is defined as any type of technology ranging from telephone, text messaging, videoconference, and social media to virtual reality.
Additional resources available on the IQ course include supplemental materials such as a crisis intervention case study exercise and a tip sheet for front-line specialists.
Click here to visit ADvancing States IQ to access all materials and recordings from this training series.
The webinar series is housed under the category Virtual Meetings, Events, and Conferences. Certificates of completion are available for each webinar training.  

Strengthen Your Knowledge of Affordable Housing Programs

Strengthen your knowledge of Affordable Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities on ADvancing States IQ through our special housing training course developed in partnership with LeadingAge. This updated training course is designed to give an overview of the types of affordable housing that are available to older adults and people with disabilities. The course assists participants to understand differences between housing and other human services programs; understand who administers affordable housing locally and how to connect to them; and understand the basics on evictions and eviction prevention resources. The course includes several supplemental resources to provide further information on housing program basics.

This course is free and available to all users on ADvancing States IQ. To access the course, log in to ADvancing States IQ and search for the course Affordable Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities (under the course category Community Integration).

Conversation Tips Toolkit Supports Telephone Reassurance and Check-In Programs

Providing telephone reassurance and check-in calls is a key strategy that is being widely used across the country to address social isolation among older adults and others, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that certain conversation skills can help to build trust and deepen engagement, ADvancing States partnered with Emergency Design Collective to create a new Conversation Tips Toolkit designed to support reassurance and check-in programs. This Toolkit is intended to benefit volunteers and staff who are participating in outreach calls with individuals receiving services. The Toolkit provides a collection of conversation tips in the areas of building trust, creating engaging conversation, understanding expectations and roles, and caring for yourself. The Toolkit is accompanied by a ‘Buzzfeed style’ quiz referencing The Golden Girls to serve as an entry point to the conversation tips. Guidance is provided in the Toolkit on how these materials can reinforce volunteer training.

To access the Toolkit and related materials, visit ADvancing States IQIf you are new to IQ, you will simply need to create an account for yourself.

Training for I&R/A Specialists on Disability

I&R/A specialists are invited to refresh or strengthen their knowledge of serving people with disabilities through ADvancing States’ online training course, Disability for I&R Specialists. This course has been fully revised and updated, and this latest version is now available on ADvancing States IQ. 

This course offers participants an overview of key issues relevant to providing information and referral/assistance (I&R/A) to individuals with disabilities. The course covers disability awareness; effective communication; services, programs, and resources; and disability rights and empowerment. It will help participants expand their understanding of disability; gain greater knowledge of disability resources, services, and support systems; strengthen awareness of resources and principles of disability rights and advocacy; and improve the quality of I&R service provision for people with disabilities. This course is free of charge. If you are new to the IQ learning center, you will need to create an account for yourself.

Resources for COVID-19 Response

ADvancing States has a section of its website dedicated to providing updated information on COVID-19. This section highlights the latest guidance from federal partners; analysis, memos, and summaries from ADvancing States; and state resources such as general information, helplines, guidance, waivers, and disaster declarations. ADvancing States will continue to update the website as new resources become available. Visit Covid-19 Resources at www.advancingstates.org/covid-19.

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has Covid-19 resources on its learning center. These resources are available to any I&R program. Resources include webinars, guidance, training, and general information. Visit https://learn.airs.org/covid-19.

Monthly Technical Assistance Webinars

Click here to view recent I&R technical assistance webinars coordinated by the National I&R Support Center.